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Omaha attorney John Cavanaugh on Thursday announced his candidacy for state senator, setting the stage for the possibility of a brother and sister serving together in the Legislature.

Cavanaugh, who is seeking the District 9 seat that will be vacated by Sen. Sara Howard when she completes her second and final term at the end of next year, is the brother of Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha and the son of former Rep. John Cavanaugh, who also served in the Legislature for four years.

Machaela Cavanaugh was elected in 2018 to a four-year term representing Omaha's District 6.

John Cavanaugh has been an assistant public defender in Douglas County for the past six years, working with low-income residents.

"I have seen the cost to our community when we do not support education, fail to create job opportunities, eliminate affordable housing options, ignore sustainable transportation options and deny drug and mental health treatment," he said.

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"These failures harm individuals and hurt our entire community," he said.

"This district is the beating heart of Omaha," Cavanaugh said. "It includes universities, major employers and the most historic neighborhoods in the state."

The district includes the Aksarben area, Elmwood Park neighborhood and a portion of midtown Omaha.

Cavanaugh is a registered Democrat.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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